I spent the last two days participating in the newest addition to the SAP TechEd schedule, Innovation Weekend. As a BusinessObjects person, I wasn’t sure I would have a lot to add to the event, and boy was I wrong (and boy was Marilyn Pratt right). Unsure of my value to the event, or its value to me, I sallied forth anyway.
What can I say? I’m a sallier.
The Opening Stuff
I actually missed pretty much all of this, as I, like an idiot, booked a 7 am flight and then didn’t make it (God bless Southwest, by the way, for eventually getting me to Vegas anyway). After having lost about 8 hours due to an inability to wake up to my alarm, I finally arrived just in time to get split up into teams. Bucking the norm and following the lead of the fabulous Mico Yuk, I decided to be a BI “Floater”, moving from group to group to help with Xcelsius (er, Dashboards), Explorer and the like. I also had a great time getting to meet face-to-face all of my twitter buddies, including some of the fabulous SAP Mentorettes, the Australian contingent , the Mentor herding team, and several others (many of which I will have failed to mention).
The Meat of the Evening
Thankfully, the bar opened soon thereafter and the real work commenced. I answered a few Xcelsius questions, met a few more friendly faces, and eventually got pulled away to do some work in my room (No, seriously. What? I did. You can see it here). Then I had some very important high level Mentor meetings in bars throughout the compound. I went back to check in a few hours later, and it seemed everyone had retired for the night.
The Early Next Morning
Plagued by an inability to sleep in a hotel room, I was up and out early to help other teams the next day. Or so I thought, until I showed up and found that everyone was already working. Apparently Innovation and Dedication go hand in hand. As does strong coffee. Whatever the magic formula is, Craig Cmehil has nailed it. This morning, everything was heating up. I was really pleasantly surprised with the amount of help I was able to provide. It seemed like every group was integrating at least one BI tool into their solutions. I was also (not nearly as pleasantly) surprised with the tough questions that came up that I couldn’t answer (what can I say, I’m a tool user – good thing the smart SAP Mentors were also there). I guess that means folks were pushing some sort of boundaries. Which is really what Vegas is all about anyway.
A mad scramble, followed by some great presentations. That’s all. I was mostly off getting gelato by this point.
The Big Wrap-Up
I didn’t really think this was my sort of thing, but I found the appropriate role for myself, as I don’t think I would have been nearly as helpful to an individual team as I and the other floaters were to all of the teams. The one thing I would like to see is sort of taking this from proof-of-concept to a completed solution. With so many of these items geared towards non-profits, I’d like to see SAP invest a little into tying a bow on these items and getting them out into the field – preferably for free – to help some charitable organizations. In sum, I would definitely do it again, and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning a lot of tools and how to integrate them in a short amount of time. Or for those who just like strong coffee and staring at some tired faces.
And, of course, congrats to the winners, and good job to the losers.